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Secretariat: The Making Of A Champion Paperback – April 2, 2002

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Editorial Reviews

From Library Journal

Secretariat captured the public's attention from his remarkable season in 1973 to his 1989 death. Sports Illustrated writer Nack here updates his 1975 portrait of the Triple Crown-winning champion, whose records set at the Kentucky Derby and Belmont Stakes have yet to be broken. This edition includes a new preface, Secretariat's breeding history and race chart, and an account of his death.
Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information, Inc.


"An excellent biography." -- New York Review of Books 04/29/04

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 367 pages
  • Publisher: Da Capo Press; New edition edition (April 2002)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0306811332
  • ISBN-13: 978-0306811333
  • Product Dimensions: 8.3 x 5.4 x 1.1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12.8 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (263 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,024,149 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

WILLIAM NACK is the author of Secretariat, and My Turf: Horses, Boxers, Blood Money, and the Sporting Life. He lives in Washington, D.C.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

146 of 150 people found the following review helpful By Susan Nunes on June 4, 2000
Format: Paperback
This book was originally published in 1975 as BIG RED OF MEADOW STABLE. I read the book when it first came out, and I thought it was one of the greatest books ever written on thoroughbred racing. I finally bought a copy of my own in 1989, just a couple of months before my visit to see the great horse in Kentucky.
Perhaps because I saw Secretariat just weeks before he was put down, this book still brings the tears to my eyes when I read it. It takes a truly outstanding writer to write about such a magnificent subject, and Nack fills the bill beautifully. He traces Secretariat's lineage and of the history of Claiborne Farm in Kentucky, long the leading breeder of thoroughbred race horses. He writes in depth about Secretariat's races leading up to the legendary Triple Crown triumph of 1973. He writes about observers such as Charles Hatton, who spotted Secretariat's greatness immediately and who called Secretariat the greatest horse he had ever seen.
The only flaw in this great book is that it stops at Secretariat's retirement. There is no updated edition of this book. Perhaps someday Nack will write the rest of the Secretariat story. He certainly wrote a magnificent obituary about him in Sports Illustrated called "Pure Heart."
All in all a great book.
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83 of 89 people found the following review helpful By ealovitt HALL OF FAMETOP 100 REVIEWER on February 28, 2001
Format: Paperback
A brief and probably pointless quiz: Who is the horse described in the following paragraph?
He was a physically awesome Thoroughbred and a superb broodmare sire. When he was born at ten minutes after midnight, March 30, 1970, his owner took one look at him and said, "There is a whopper." His own firstborn was an Appaloosa colt named 'First Secretary'. Another son - a draft horse cross - is still alive and well and recently retired from the Southwest dressage circuit. Yet a third son won the Belmont by a margin of 21 lengths, in what was the second fastest running and third largest margin in history.
Of course, his Daddy still holds the record for both margin and time.
And who is Risen Star's Daddy?
Secretariat, of course. No one who admires this special breed of horse could possibly have flunked this quiz.
When we watched Big Red hit the wire 31 lengths ahead of Twice a Prince in 1973, crushing the Belmont stakes record by two seconds and change, many of us knew that we would not see his like again. According to his jockey, Ron Turcotte, Secretariat was retired before he had reached his full potential at the longer distances. We would have loved to watch that big red horse run all day and smash every record there was, but it was not to be.
At any rate, reading William Nack's, "Secretariat: The Making of a Champion" is the next best thing to watching him run (unless you are lucky enough and rich enough to own one of his 'blue hen' daughters). At least his fans can relive the races Big Red did run, and Nack has the knack (sorry) of bringing them vividly back to memory. This book and "Wild Ride: The Rise and Tragic Fall of Calumet Farm, Inc.
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48 of 50 people found the following review helpful By swcsmth@AOL.COM on June 11, 1999
Format: Paperback
Mr. Nack has done a wonderful job telling Secretariat's story, and what a story it is. I have allways loved Secretariat, but Mr. Nack has taught me about things such as running a "twelve clip" and changing leading legs in the turns and about lineage and people as well. But beyond that, it's great to read something about Secretariat that reaffirms how so many felt about the greatest horse of all time. I'm glad Mr. Nack loved that horse as so many of us did. He has written it into his book and I couldn't put it down. I wanted to run right out and find more books on Secretariat. Thank you Mr. Nack!
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31 of 31 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on April 23, 2004
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I read this not long after reading Laura Hillenbrand's "Seabiscuit"--and I enjoyed "Secretariat" far more. I was reading it on the train and could not hide the tears running down my face. When he won the Triple Crown, one writer said of Secretariat, "He ran so far beyond known reference points, he left us with no measurable comparison." Secretariat transcended all the limits. His feat was deeply inspiring to me. The author was actually there with Secretariat and his connections day by day during his career, and writes with authority and obvious affection for his subject. The book was so well written that I absorbed that affection and ended up feeling as if I, too, knew this horse personally. He even unfolds the tale of Secretariat's pedigree in such an interesting and engaging way that it is helping me to understand current Derby prospects better. This is the best horse racing book I ever read, and I would give it more than 5 stars if I could.
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25 of 25 people found the following review helpful By Victor I. Park on September 9, 2002
Format: Paperback
I bought William Nack's original writing of this book which was published in 1975. Although I was too young to follow Secretariat's racing career, reading this book gave me a very detailed and full account of his performance as a two-year old in 1972 and as a three-year old in 1973.
I have been a big horse racing fan for some 20 years now, and I have read many books on throughbred racing. This is definitely the best book on the subject that I have ever read!
Not only is it an excellent description of Secretariat and all of his connections. It tells the racing fan a lot about what goes into training a horse and bringing him along before he runs his first race.
My favorite chapter is the author's narration of the 1973 Belmont Stakes. I never get tired of reading how Secretariat was running down the backstretch so effortlessly while Sham could barely keep up with him. Ron Turcotte didn't realize how fast they were going until he saw the clock near the end of the race.
If you love thoroughbred racing you'll certainly love this book.
This is quality writing! You'll know Secretariat's career so much better after reading this book.
It's too bad that Secretariat never got to race at the age of four. He might have been even better than he was at three.
One can only guess what might have been!
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